Neneh Mariann Karlsson (born 10 March 1964), known as Neneh Cherry
is a Swedish singer-songwriter and rapper of mixed Black African-European
descent. Cherry is also an occasional DJ and broadcaster. Cherry
blends hip hop with other influences, and experienced some moderate
mainstream success with several of her recordings.
A biracial woman, Cherry's biological father is from the Sierra
Leone in West Africa and her mother, Moki, is from Sweden. However,
she was raised by the African American jazz musician Don Cherry,
whom her mother married early in her life.
 Early days in London
Cherry dropped out of school at 14 and moved to London, where she
joined the punk rock band "The Cherries". Cherry moved
through several bands, including New Age Steppers, Rip Rig + Panic
(with whom she appeared on an episode of cult sitcom The Young Ones
in 1982), and Float Up CP. She also DJ'd, playing early rap music
on the reggae pirate Dread Broadcasting Corporation.
 Raw Like Sushi
She began a solo career with "Stop the War", a protest
song about the Falkland Islands. She also worked with The The and
musician Cameron McVey (a.k.a. Booga Bear), who co-wrote most of
her debut album Raw Like Sushi, and whom she would eventually marry.
She was intimately involved in the Bristol Urban Culture scene, working
as an arranger on Massive Attack's Blue Lines album and helping out
in various other ways in the scene. Both Robert Del Naja and Andrew
Vowles of Massive Attack contributed to Raw Like Sushi.
The single "Buffalo Stance" was an international blockbuster. "Buffalo
Stance" eventually peaked at number 3 in the UK Singles Chart,
and the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 on the US Dance chart.
More singles released between 1988 and 1990 included "Manchild," "Kisses
on the Wind," "Heart," and "Inna City Mama." She
also found success with "I've Got You Under My Skin" (produced
by Morris Temple of The Guards fame), a reworking of the Cole Porter
song, which appeared on the Red Hot + Blue AIDS fundraising album.
The single reached number 25 in the UK.
 Lyme Disease
Cherry suffered from Lyme disease prior to her Cole Porter re-interpretation
of "I've Got You Under My Skin" for the Red Hot + Blue
benefit album.
Cherry's second album was Homebrew, but it was not as commercially
successful as its predecessor. The album had some success on the
dance charts with songs "Buddy X" and "Trout." "Buddy
X" was a bigger hit years later in a remix by Dreem Teem and
on college radio the "Trout" duet with Michael Stipe was
popular. Homebrew included the work of Geoff Barrow (on "Somedays"),
who would later become part of Portishead.
Her most recent solo album, 1996's Man, was led by the track "Woman",
her take on James Brown's 1966 track "It's a Man's Man's Man's
World." It featured the worldwide hit single, "7 Seconds",
featuring Youssou N'Dour; and "Trouble Man" a cover of
a Marvin Gaye track. "7 Seconds" remained at number 1 in
France for a record seventeen weeks in 1994. Another track, "Together
Now", featured Tricky.
Neneh Chérie Remixes, a remix album of Man songs, was released
In 2006, Cherry announced the formation of a new band, cirKus. In
addition to Cherry, cirKus members are Cameron McVey, Lolita Moon
(Neneh and Cameron's daughter Tyson) plus Karmil. CirKus has toured
Europe, with a single North American performance at the Montreal
Jazz Festival in July 2006 plus a few dates in Brazil in 2008. The
band's first album, Laylow, was released in France in 2006. A remixed/recorded
version was released in 2007. A second CirKus album, Medicine, was
released in France in March 2009.
 Other collaborations
Although Cherry has only released a handful of albums, she has frequently
collaborated with other artists. She performed a duet with Matt Johnson
of The The on the track Slow Train To Dawn from the The The's 1986
album Infected. Slow Train To Dawn reached #64 in the UK and received
sporadic airplay on US alternative radio stations. She rapped on
the B-side of the Morgan/McVey single "Looking Good Diving With
The Wild Bunch" (1987). Cherry worked with Jon Marsh of The
Beloved on a new version of their single "You've Got Me Thinking".
Although the track was never officially released, two demo versions
were available from The Beloved's website. Cherry also contributed
guest vocals on Pulp's UK #1 album This Is Hardcore, singing on the
track "Seductive Barry". In 1990, Cherry contributed "I've
Got You Under My Skin" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue
produced by the Red Hot Organization.
Cherry collaborated with Edward Kowalczyk the lead singer of the
band Live. They contributed a duet entitled "Walk into this
Room" written by Kowalczyk for the soundtrack to the movie Playing
by Heart (1998). In 1999 she covered the ESG song "Moody" on
Christian Falk's debut Quel Bordel. Also in 1999, "Twisted Mess",
a collaboration with Craig Armstrong, was recorded for the soundtrack
of the film Best Laid Plans. It was also included on the soundtrack
to The Dancer (2000) and released as a promotional single on France's
In addition she contributed vocals alongside Speech and Ulali on
1 Giant Leap's 2003 song "Braided Hair". In the 2005 release
of Gorillaz's Demon Days, she contributed vocals to the tracks "Kids
With Guns". She performed the song in the Demon Days Live concerts
in 2006. The same year she appeared with the Swedish rapper Petter
on his album P, singing in Swedish. She contributed vocals to the
Groove Armada tracks, "The Groove Is On" and "Think
Twice", featured on the band's album Love Box. In 2006 she was
featured in the song "Yours to Keep", by the Stockholm
outfit Teddybears on their album Soft Machine. In 2007 she again
duetted with Youssou N'Dour on one track, "Wake Up Africa",
released on his 2007 album Rokku Mi Rokka.
In 2008 she appeared on Swedish producer Kleerup's self-titled album,
contributing vocals to the track "Forever".
 Other work
Cherry appeared in a non-singing capacity in Big Audio Dynamite's
1986 video for "C'mon Every Beatbox", dancing onstage with
others during the band's performance. In the spring of 2004, Cherry
presented Neneh Cherry's World of Music, a six-part series broadcast
on BBC Radio 2.
In April 2007, Cherry presented a six-part cookery show Neneh and
Andi – Dish it Up with her friend Andrea Oliver for BBC Two.
The pair would later appear on Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word as part
of the amateur brigade.
 Personal life
Cherry was born to a Sierra Leonean father, drummer Amahdu Jah and
a Swedish painter/textile artist mother, Monica Karlsson, known as
Moki Cherry. She is the sister of singer Titiyo Jah and half-sister
of musician Eagle-Eye Cherry. Her step-father Don Cherry helped raise
her since birth and Neneh took his surname. Cherry lived the first
years of her life in the in a Hippie Commune just outside the small
Swedish town of Hässleholm and later moved to Pudsey, England.
At the Commune outside Hässleholm she lived side by side with
siblings Shanti Roney (well known Swedish actor) and Marimba Roney
(TV-journalist). Regarding her childhood, Cherry said:
"My mother is Swedish and she's an artist. She's an amazing
lady. When I was a baby and she was going to design school, she used
to take me along in a basket!"
In the early 1970s the Cherry family lived in an apartment on East
9th Street in New York. Moki Cherry died in 2009 in Sweden.
Cherry married The Bank drummer Bruce Smith in 1983 and their daughter
Naima was also born that year. They divorced in 1984. In 1987
she met producer Cameron McVey at Heathrow Airport. Cherry and McVey
were en route to Japan, as fashion models as part of London designer
Ray Petri's Buffalo Posse. Cherry proposed, and the two married in
1990. Together they have daughters Tyson, born in 1989, and Mabel,
born in 1996. Their relationship is also work-related, as McVey
produced and co-wrote Raw Like Sushi; together they have supported
a variety of British acts; and they are in the group cirKus together.
In 2004, Cherry became a grandmother when her 19-year-old daughter
Naima had son Louis Clyde Flynn Love.
The Cherry-McVeys have lived throughout Europe. In 1993 they moved
to Spain. In 1992, they briefly attempted to live in New York. They
bought a home in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York. Soon
after moving in, the couple was held up at gunpoint and robbed by
a teenage bandit. The entire family packed up again and headed back
to London's Primrose Hill. They next returned to Cherry's childhood
home in Sweden; living in the same schoolhouse turned home (featured
in Homebrew album artwork) that Cherry studied in as a child.
For many years they split their time between the UK and Sweden, but
made Sweden their permanent base around 2003. They have country house
near Birmingham and Wolverhampton, apartments in London and Stockholm
plus the old schoolhouse in Skåne County.
 Other family
Neneh Cherry (Vienna, 1996)
Many members of her family are musicians or artists.
* Her mother was the painter and textile artist, Moki Cherry.
* Her father is the African-Swedish musician Amadu Jah, a Sierra Leonean percussionist.
* Her stepfather, Don Cherry, was an influential jazz musician.
* Her half-sister Titiyo Jah is a successful Swedish singer.
* Her half-brother Cherno Jah is a record producer and has worked with Robyn
* Her half-brother Eagle-Eye Cherry is also a musician of some international
* Her stepsister Jan Cherry is a violinist.
* Her stepbrother David Ornette Cherry is a jazz musician based in the US.
* Her stepson Marlon Roudette fronts the British duo Mattafix.
* Her first husband was Bruce Smith.
* Her oldest daughter, Naima Smith, is a photographer in London.
 Studio albums
Year Title UK US AUS GER SWE FR
1989 Raw Like Sushi 2 40 30 10 3 —
1992 Homebrew 27 — 49 — 29 —
1996 Man 16 187 10 20 22 4
2006 Laylow (with CirKus) — — — — — 95
2008 Medicine (with CirKus) — — — — — 110
 Remix albums
1997 Neneh Chérie: Remixes
Year Title Chart Positions Album
UK US US Dance AUS NZ GER NL SWI FR PL
1987 "Slow Train To Dawn" (The The with Neneh Cherry) 64 — — 95 — — — — — — Infected
1989 "Buffalo Stance" 3 3 1 21 14 2 1 2 — — Raw
Manchild" 5 — — 51 4 2 3 4 41 24
Kisses on the Wind" 20 8 19 52 8 23 14 9 — —
Heart" — 73 — 91 — — — — — —
Inna City Mama" 31 — — — 15 — 7 17 — —
1990 "I've Got You Under My Skin" 25 — — 61
32 23 14 25 — — Red Hot + Blue
1992 "Money Love" 23 — — 85 31 — 22 — — — Homebrew
Move with Me" — — — — — — — — — —
1993 "Buddy X" 35 43 4 — — — 27 23 — —
1994 "7 Seconds" (with Youssou N'Dour) 3 98 — 3 7
3 2 1 1 3 Man
1995 "Love Can Build a Bridge" (with Cher, Chrissie Hynde & Eric
Clapton) 1 — — — — 62 41 21 — 30 (Single
1996 "Woman" 9 — — 17 35 52 22 12 14 7 Man
Kootchi" 38 — — — — — — — — —
1997 "Feel It" 68 — — — — — — — — 48
1999 "Buddy X '99" (with Dreem Teem) 15 — — — — — — — — — (Single
2000 "Long Way Around (with Eagle-Eye Cherry) 48 — — — — — 81
45 60 — Living In the Present Future
2003 "Braided Hair" (1 Giant Leap feat. Neneh Cherry & Speech) — — — — — — 96 — — — 1
2006 "Kids With Guns" (Gorillaz with Neneh Cherry) 27 — — 31 — 97 — — — — Demon
 Awards and other recognition
Cherry was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1990 in the Best New
Artist Category; she lost out to Milli Vanilli, who later had their
Grammy revoked when it was discovered that they had not performed
on their recording. She won a Brit Award in 1990 for Raw Like Sushi.
Cherry received her second Grammy nomination in 1994 for "7
Seconds". In the MTV Europe Music Awards in 1994, "7 Seconds" won
the Best Song title.